Plural of "sarracenia" again

Wed, 6 Apr 1994 9:49:34 -0400 (EDT)

Joe Mullins wrote:

>I've just read and deleted a message which referred to the plural of
>Sarracenia as Sarraceniae - my latin isn't! - is this the correct because
>somehow I always feel that there's something wrong with Sarracenias.
>What about some of the other genera?

The message to which you refer, probably buried in the archives somewhere,
may have been one of mine. It's been too many years since I studied Latin,
and my old high school Latin teacher will verify that I'm no expert (although
I did get an A in Latin in college, which surprised him:). I claim that
the word "sarracenia" belongs to the first declension of Latin nouns, the
form I've written being the nominative singular case. The nominative
plural form of the first declension substitutes the ending -ae for the
ending -a and so we have "sarraceniae".

Latin notwithstanding, there are plenty of examples in the English language
when the above rule is no longer used. The word "formula", for example, is
commonly written "formulas" for the plural form. My dictionary lists the
plural as either "formulas" or "formulae" but the latter is probably more
common in literature written 50 years ago or more.

Now, let's not get into a similar discussion over "nepenthes", because
that comes from Greek and Greek was even harder to study!!

salutem in inibrio,